Historically, Bulgaria has been a country of emigration more than immigration, and this is a trend that mostly continues today. Each year, thousands of Bulgarians seek their fortune in Western Europe and North America, mostly due to economic dissatisfaction.
However, after living abroad for two years, first in Chilean Patagonia and then in north Germany, I’m moving back to Bulgaria in about a month and I intend to live there for the foreseeable future. So what reasons might there be for people to make Bulgaria their new home?
From the delicious local cuisine to the lowest income tax in the European Union, kashkaval tourist presents 7 reasons to live in Bulgaria!
1. Mountains and beaches: Bulgaria’s nature is diverse and attractive
Switzerland is world-famous for its breathtaking mountains and Portugal is undeniably a great beach destination. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find a decent beach in Switzerland and Portugal isn’t exactly a top hiking place either.
Bulgaria is one of very few countries in Europe (and indeed the world) which offer awe-inspiring mountain sceneries next to a sunny and sandy seaside in a very compact area. You can be leaving the lush Alpine forests of Borovets after lunch and still make it in time for a late afternoon Black Sea swim in historic Sozopol on the very same day!
2. Local gourmet: Bulgaria’s cuisine is fresh and delicious
With outstanding regional vegetables, fragrant spices and quality barbecued meats, Bulgarian cuisine is an absolute Balkan jewel. Add a glass of aromatic rakia (or why not some well-aged Bulgarian wine?) and you’re in for a memorable Bulgarian meal.
Now imagine having this variety of tasty local food and drink available to you every day. Freshly baked pastries and the world’s best yoghurt for breakfast, a rich salad with white cheese for lunch and a nicely seasoned Bulgarian mixed grill for dinner. Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
3. One euro beer: Bulgaria’s prices are unrivalled
Admittedly, salaries in Bulgaria are quite low by European standards. But to counter that, the country has some of the most affordable prices on the continent. In many cases, goods and services are several times cheaper than in Western Europe!
A nice cold beer, for example, will set you off around one euro at a normal bar or restaurant and a hearty meal will typically not exceed 5-6 euro. A public transport ticket is no more than 50 euro cent and looking at rents and accommodation, you’ll find some of the most reasonable prices in all of Europe.
4. Southern hospitality: Bulgaria’s people are warm and welcoming
Bulgarians have a reputation as social, naturally curious and warm-hearted people who know how to have a party and share a good laugh (very often at their own expense!). A friendly smile and a few kind words and you’ll be making new friends in no time!
Of course, people are all different and this cannot possibly apply to everyone, but you’ll notice that social life plays a greater role in the Bulgarian day-to-day than in more northern places. Bulgarians like to spend their time among others and physical interaction is very commonplace too.
5. Winter snow and summer heat: Bulgaria’s climate is perfect for outdoor activities in all seasons
Northern Europe is rainy and cool all year round and the Mediterranean doesn’t boast the Christmas delight of a snowy winter. How about a proper hot summer and a cold, snowy winter, with pleasant spring and autumn in between?
Bulgaria’s climate gets the best of the north and the south. It’s usually dry and sunny, but temperatures vary greatly between seasons, unlike Germany or England, where seasonal temperature differences are much smaller. So you get to enjoy skiing on those awesome mountains mentioned above and a few months later it’s time to head to the coast and chill in the refreshing waters of the Black Sea!
6. Tax haven: Bulgaria’s taxes are the most favourable in the EU
Since 2008, Bulgaria has enjoyed a flat income tax rate of just 10%, the lowest in the European Union. With relatively low health and pension insurance costs and a cheap and simplified process to start a business, you’ll be making sure you’re handing as little of your income to the government as possible.
With Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union, living, working and travelling in most of Europe has become simpler than ever before. And the local currency, the lev, is handily tied to the euro at approximately 2 leva for 1 euro, which will make your life easier too.
7. Shop around the clock: Bulgaria is full of 24/7 shops and supermarkets
24/7 supermarkets, restaurants working seven days a week and convenience stores on pretty much every corner… in many Bulgarian towns, all of this is the norm. And there’s even some bank branches open on weekends!
It may not seem like a big deal to you unless you’ve ended up with no groceries on a Sunday afternoon in Germany ever before. But the chance to shop however and whenever you want gives you the freedom to live your life according to your own terms and not have to plan every little step in advance.